My Christmas tree doesn't need a star on top because you're my star and the only thing I'm sad about is that my kids will never get to know the wonderful woman you are.
For 19 years, I have looked forward to unwrapping presents under the Christmas tree in my pajamas. Ma used to wake me up early so I could find the best spot under the tree get to the presents. She'd then disappear into the kitchen, only to come with a tray that smelled like freshly-baked deliciousness. It was time for me to have a cup of warm milk accompanied by homemade cookies. Life was also a lot simpler back then, wasn't it? It was my Christmas ritual and in the eyes of my mother, I was never too old for cookies and warm milk.
I moved out of home and life got busy afterward, but whenever I did get the chance, I'd go home to spend some time with my parents. People always say that a mother and daughter can never see eye to eye, but my mother was my best friend. She knew every small detail about my life. I found comfort in talking to my mother at the end of a very tiring day. Her voice gave me hope for a better tomorrow and she made me believe in myself.
It's been four years since I last had a conversation with her. You see, life can be unfair, and it took my mom away from me. Since I was away, I had no idea how she was doing. I was a little selfish back then because I made sure to tell her how I was feeling, but I never really took the time to ask her if she was doing okay. It is perhaps the reason I had no clue of her suffering.
I found out much later that she was in pain for the final few months of her life. After she was gone, I asked my dad why he never told me, because knowing ma, she would have wanted to keep it all to herself. I wept and cried, screamed and shouted when dad told me that mom asked him to keep her pain away from me because she knew I'd drop everything and come back to her side and she did not want me to ruin my life, my future, and my career.
Ma, how could you do that to me? I'm sorry I did not check up on you enough or come home, but now life is not the same anymore. It hurts me to decorate the Christmas tree because that used to be our tradition. Ma, it kills me when I go shopping for my family because it's not really my family without you. Ma, I have a stack of gifts from the past four years because I just can't not buy you a present. Every year, I get you something you'd like and it breaks my heart because you're not there to receive it with a broad smile and reciprocate it with a tight hug.
Ma, the holidays are not the same anymore. Life is hard without you every day, but it gets unbearable during the holidays. You were the star atop the Christmas tree, which is why my tree doesn't have one at the top anymore. Ma, there's not a day that passes by without me regretting not visiting you often. If only I did, I would have known about the pain you were in sooner. I wouldn't have been able to take the pain away, but I would have stuck right by you through it all.
It kills me knowing that I won't be able to call you for trivial things anymore. Who am I going to call in the middle of the night when I'm having a breakdown because I can't get my kids to go to bed? Who am I going to call and ask to take me through the family recipe step-by-step? Who am I going to call to celebrate the fact that my turkey came out amazingly well because you spared 3-4 hours on the phone talking me through it?
Ma, I know it's selfish of me to say this, but every year during December, I miss you a little more than I usually do. In a few days, it's going to be Christmas and I still bake cookies and bring that with warm milk to my kids, just like you used to. But the cookies don't taste anything like yours. Is it because the one main ingredient I'm missing is love? My Christmas tree doesn't need a star on top because you're my star and the only thing I'm sad about is that my kids will never get to know the wonderful woman you are. Ma, wherever you are, I hope you're happy. I miss you!Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by gomcgill.com